A beacon in an otherwise gloomy retail landscape, the booming beauty and personal care (BPC) sector presents big opportunities for U.S. chemical companies and investors that can navigate this rapidly growing and evolving terrain. Today consumers are opening their wallets with far more enthusiasm for beauty products than for shoes and apparel. And in direct contrast to other retail sectors, we expect the BPC sector to grow 4.2% per year through 2021, outperforming historical growth of 3.4% per year since 2011 — opening a window rich with possibilities.

How can U.S. chemical companies successfully capitalize on this underlying sector growth? The answer is twofold. First, companies must align their product offerings with current beauty trends by focusing on the latest “it” ingredients. Next, companies must approach their go-to-market strategies from a fresh angle now that the “what” and “how” to sell are undergoing swift transformations.

In this Executive Insights, we examine the three product attributes we see having the biggest impact on commercial success in the specialty BPC chemical market going forward: functional, natural and personalized. We also discuss two go-to-market approaches chemical companies should take to capitalize on this exciting period of growth: focusing on “asset-light” brands and contract manufacturers, and making technical and sales support a top priority.

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